Skip to main content

tv   2016 Savannah Book Festival  CSPAN  February 13, 2016 9:00am-11:01am EST

9:00 am
discuss their books from the trinity united methodist church. it's located in downtown v.a. van that. -- savannah. you'll hear from war veteran and quadruple amputee travis bills, dana perino, and best selling author rinker buck. and now we're going to kick off our live coverage today with rutgers university journalism professor david greenberg. his book is called "the republic of spin: an inside history of the american presidency." this is live coverage from savannah on booktv.
9:01 am
the church and for the festival by georgia power, bill and king at kelly and the estate of ralph. we are blessed once again to host such celebrated authors at united methodist church which has been made possible by the generosity of bob and jean faircrop and substrate bank. many of you have already watched on deck with eric larsen but we suspect today you are seeking your claims around chippewa squares as you choose among the
9:02 am
dozens of renowned writers who have published outstanding books this year. we extend special thanks to our members and individual donors him make these events possible. if you would like to lend your support we welcome your donations and provided few bucks for books buckets. at the door. please turn your cellphones off and there will be no flash photography. the question and answer portion of this morning we will ask you to line up down the central iowa, there will be a volunteer with the microphone end you will ask your questions at that point. after the presentation david
9:03 am
greenberg will be signing purchase books, copies of his books. please join me in thanking dr. preston russell for sponsoring david greenberg's appearance today. which is perfect in its timing as we are in the midst of a contentious and entertaining and mesmerizing presidential primary season. david greenberg is an expert in such matters as up prof. of history and journalism, media studies at rutgers university. he speaks often on the shoes of media and contemporary politics, the subject of this latest book "republic of spin," an inside history of the american presidency. in it, david greenberg recounted the rise of the white house spin machine from teddy roosevelt to
9:04 am
barack obama, from the bleep it to the well calibrated construction of today's pollsters, speech writers and snake oil salesman who excel on social media. please welcome david greenberg. [applause] >> thank you, thanks to all of you. it is really encouraging to see such a good crowd on saturday morning. i want to thank in particular ted and linda mohr, my hosts this weekend who have been showing me around savannah and showing me a wonderful time. wonderful to be in this terrific city. i want to talk today for a few minutes about what led me to write this book "republic of spin".
9:05 am
my first book was on richard nixon. it was a book called nixon's shadow, the history of image. it was not so much a biography of nixon as a study of nixon in the american imagination, not a story of what he did so much as a story of what nixon anmeant. many were concerned with who was the real nixon? some of you may recall nixon was always being trotted out in the new version, there was always talk of the new nixon, the old hatchet man being left behind, the statesman, nixon, man of the people, always a new image being brought out sometimes by nixon but sometimes forged and fabricated by his audiences. this led me to think about imagemaking in national politics
9:06 am
generally and this became a central critique of nixon certainly, were our politicians phony, manufactured? but also a critique of politics in the 20th century in our age of media where it seems so possible for politicians along with their consultants, spin doctors, handlers to present images and messages designed to give us what we want rather is and perhaps what they really where. concern with authenticity hamas you might say, a theme we have been hearing a lot on the campaign trail this season. i began to realize that this story, even though i had just written this book about nixon was not just about nixon. it was about 20th century politics. i want to start by reading a short passage and despite what
9:07 am
erik larsen said last night i do think audiences like, i hope audiences like to hear a little bit of the prose style of an author. i won't go on and on that getting a sampling of the book is partly what audiences want as well as an understanding of the book that comes through a more informal talk. let me start with a short paragraph from the very beginning of the new book "republic of spin". our political world is awash in spin. over many decades now elected officials and their aides have forged a huge arsenal of tools and techniques to shake their messages, their images and our thinking. from the white house on down virtually every politician of note boasted a brigade of speechwriters, press secretaries, campaign consultants, media gurus, handlers, pollsters, hucksters,
9:08 am
flax, pacs and other assorted spin meister is to assure that each utterance is rendered in the best achievable light. sometimes our politics seem to be nothing but skin. a dizzying cacophonous world of claims and counterclaims, each side charges the other with spin while asserting for itself a purchase on the truth. the growth of spin has given rise to a series of now familiar complaints. we hear that our politics are phony and corrupt, that our leaders are packaged and and principles, that their rhetoric is shallow and poll tested and even the most important political event, debates, conventions, speeches, interviews, press briefings are scripted, staged and choreographed. spin, we hear, mislead or
9:09 am
deceive such us and chokes off the honest and open discourse our democracy needs. this, i think, is at the heart of what worries us about the prevalence of political spin in our political life today and it was a question i wanted to get to the origins of. where did this come from? not just the tools and techniques politician by using that this anxiety that is adversely affecting our democracy. i realize nobody had written a history of the white house spin machine. bits and pieces of it had been written about, talked about in many different ways but there was no single comprehensive history the told the story throughout the 20th centuries ago that is what i set out to do with "republic of spin". this book has three narrative
9:10 am
stories and i hope berated rather seamlessly, the intention was not for you to jump back and forth but for the characters and this seems to overlap among the three. the first of course is of the presidents themselves who over the last hundred years have built up this machinery and in particular the specific innovation each one developed, specific struggles each one faced, specific challenges that each one confronted as they use these new tools to speak for the american public and try to put across their agenda. a second story confirms less well-known figures, spin doctors, information managers as they may be called more neutrally, experts who are trained in journalism comment advertising, public relations
9:11 am
and other fields who in the course of the 20th century develop and expertise in words and images, they often come in to politics, sometimes on the campaign, sometimes in the white house itself, to work with presidents to seek how they can best put across the message and then the third group of characters who are intertwined in the story are the critics, this is an intellectual history as well as a political history. it is supposed to tell the story not not just a house in evolve but what americans thought of it, how we assess its implications for democracy. there were some who were very bullish who felt new innovations, radio or public opinion polling could help us forge a stronger democracy where opinions could be exchanged freely, politicians could know what the public believed and this would help us to develop a
9:12 am
democracy in which politicians were responsive to the public. there are others who have been very critical, felt the tools of spin were not used for leadership but for misleading, and powerful national officials kind of an unfair advantage to put across their messages over the american people who would be fooled and lack the resources to know better and there is a third group called the realists who took a source of middle position, recognized the spin or publicity, propaganda in other eris was here to stay, and to educate the public. and how it worked in the hopes that the democracy could continue to be strong. i want to say about each group this morning. the story of the presidents
9:13 am
begins in my account with the roosevelt. this is not to say, in 1901 when teddy roosevelt became president. on the contrary argument the book that spin is as old as politics. and argue about the place of rhetoric in athenian democracy. in all year rounds leaders have superintended their images and try to make sure they were held in esteem by the public when they derive their power. for the american presidency there was the transformation at the start of the last century. there is the reason we don't know too much about most nineteenth century presidents, we don't even know their names, they didn't do that much. congress according to the constitution was the first branch of government listed in article 1, the presidency was
9:14 am
article 2. it surprises my students who are used to thinking of the president as the big enchilada. what changed? how did the president become the one who drives the agenda to put his program across rather than implementing what congress thought best. changes in large part because of the industrial revolution and the great social and economic problems that are introduced by the huge transformation and the nature of american life and progressives, theodore roosevelt among some thought it was the place of the government in washington to tried to address those big challenges, and is not just the federal government roosevelt believed the president in particular, roosevelt had his own theory of the presidency
9:15 am
basically saying instead of confining his role, the constitution said he could do, he was free to do anything except what the constitution said he couldn't do. he enormously expanded the field of presidential power but he knew he couldn't just do that by fiat. he wasn't a dictator. he felt he had to have public opinion on his side and the public was growing, the number of educated, literate americans were participating in politics was growing so marshaling public opinion was key to his political success and to do this, the public presidency, had to galvanize the public through the media. he toward wisely, took trips as no president before him had done, went out west, came down south, not just in a ceremonial
9:16 am
role, and to advance a particular agenda weather was regulation of the railroad or the meat packing industry, all these progressive reforms that helped create a safer and fairer america. he also hired the first government information officers, press agents as they recall that the time when he decided to start his panama canal project, he put a journalist in charge of handling the oppressed for that project because there was so much interest in it. the great outcry from congress and why should taxpayer dollars be funding the aide who is going to give us theodore roosevelt's propaganda and there was a big puzzle back and forth between the president and congress and he knew the value of commanding the headlines.
9:17 am
newspapers were changing. in the nineteenth century newspapers were partisan and champion the line of one party or the other. now newspapers were becoming objective. they still had their editorial pages but readers cared less about the editorial pages than the news, what was happening and roosevelt recognized this and saw that his success depending on staying in the headlines, getting the news stories written the way he wanted so he would do things like descends to the bottom of long island sound in a submarine, one of those old-fashioned with the circular portal door that closes, this was to demonstrate the navy needed to invest in submarines and develop into a modern navy.
9:18 am
he once wrote 98 miles on horseback in order to demonstrate news to join him in an afternoon, in a small room
9:19 am
9:20 am
9:21 am
which was the worst natural disaster in american history until hurricane katrina a few years ago.
9:22 am
so the film shows hoovered down by a river pulling horses, out of the water, and the zeroth image of hoover as a man on the scene when challenges or crises arrived. he was also media saturday. he knew to give his speeches from the mississippi river from a perch where you could hear the water rushing in the background so audiences at home have a sense of the man on the spot and national geographic and other magazines and spreads of him in action with thoughs from the disaster scene. when as president hoover had an emergency proved there is a little irony in the title, sort of another theme of the book, that spin certain we can sell a candidate running for president
9:23 am
but spin cannot save failure of policy and that is that theme that recurs throughout. more recently getting into a later part of the century i discovered even minor bureaucratic elements, development of less than apparatus that turned out to be consequential. during the vietnam war lyndon johnson organizes the vietnam information group which has a rather benign sounding title but the first interagency group designed to sell the war, the vietnam war was going badly. people worried was able to message from the white house. get and johnson's 8 in the steps state department, national security council would gather on a weekly basis, putting out the right message, messages were
9:24 am
coordinated and at one point in the fall of 1967 they did start the progress campaign to see an uptick in public opinion hellebore was going. it became a template for a big policy initiative subsequent presidents would roll out work plan in advance the messaging and a few years back you may recall newspaper reports of the white house iraq group which did something similar for the george bush administration and came up with lines like we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud and other memorable lines that helped drive home for the nation the danger of saddam hussein acquiring nuclear weapons. and then of course i come to the present with barack obama to had given us such innovations as the
9:25 am
white house ideography end white house twitter feed and everyday there are new innovations in communications technology and spin that presidents have to adapt to. that is the first story, the main characters, the president, if you like reading about presidents and what they are doing behind-the-scenes that is all in here. it is rated together with the second story of these spin doctors who insisted the presidents and every step of the way, surprising even going back to the teams and 20s how deeply involved they are. it is not recent phenomenon. some are people you might have heard of, bill moyers working for lbj, ronald reagan's image master, roger ailes, richard nixon, george bush senior's media guy who went on to found fox news.
9:26 am
there are all these obscure figures who i found deliciously fascinating who also played a really historic part in the development of this vast machinery presidents now have at their disposal to influence public opinion. one of these figures was named judson, the first white house speechwriter. the title of white house speechwriter didn't coming to use until the eisenhower years but that is what he did for warren harding. harding as some of you know was known as a bombastic bloviating speaker. he was mocked by the likes of h.l. mencken who compared his speech to stilbene soup and dogs barking at the laundry on the line. at the same time, harding, because of the rising visibility
9:27 am
of the president in the new mass media, newspapers was being called upon to give many more speeches than his predecessors have been so judson is the literary clerk, that is the official title, who really helps out a indeed and curmudgeonly h. l. mencken writes a column where he says he is having some positive effects on the harding. in the eisenhower years, robert run, reward's a new the and tv actor who by the 1950s was kind of stalling his career of a little bit, but he had gone involved much like his friend ronald reagan, they had parallel tracks in hollywood. he got involved in politics and in 1952 is watching wyatt eisenhower's television debut in kansas, what is supposed to be a
9:28 am
grand day, there is a downpour, eisenhower in reading his script for a fog that glasses, there are bleachers behind him, they are going back and forth like nothing important is happening the optics of just terrible and montgomery place is the call to the campaign saying you need emergency help. the next year after eisenhower's election, montgomerie is given a full-time office in the west wing, becomes the first-ever white house tv coach and starts doing little things, telling eisenhower to change his glasses, these lists frames which will look better on tv, even has eisenhower come out in front of the white house desk to look more relaxed, starts playing, raising and lowering the lectern, raises it because he feels eisenhower has been lowering his eyes to reflect the script, i will try not to do
9:29 am
that here. he gets involved in the substance, the pacing of the speeches is correct. eisenhower is born in 1890. he is a man of an earlier time, not like jfk who comes after him, he surrenders himself to montgomery and other mia advisers and by the end of his presidency he is quite adept with television, gives a law office addresses that are well-respected over sputnik in 1957, over the little rock crisis, integration of little rock high school, where his moral leadership in the oval office and prime-time addresses is considered an important contribution and that is in large part to these unsung heroes like robert montgomery.
9:30 am
in the spirit of giving you the flavor of this, the first-ever presidential pollster who i will wager, you have never heard of, a finnish geologist who spent time around the west in the extractive industries, got into all oil and texas, when a wall street firm thought they could use his expertise in understanding those industries. he was diehard political buffs, studied politics and public opinion, and he realized the way magazines like literary digests who were relied upon for polling, the way they surveyed public opinion was completely inadequate, compared it to how you test the chemical content of a piece of rock. you can't just skim the surface because that gives you a superficial reading and doesn't
9:31 am
test the full cross-section. you have to pulverize the sample of war and he felt the survey is written in the newspapers skinned the surface a you have to go deep inside them, calibrate them. i recently read an excerpt from the book that politico magazine published and gave it the title fdr's silver because white and 8 silver who runs the 538 website, he was not doing his own polling but was taking all the numbers that were out there from the party's can thises to numbers from bookies to the newspaper surveys and figuring them out. he walks into the offices of the democratic national committee in 1928. they think he is a crank and threw him out but four years later he tries again, that proved to be an enormous help to
9:32 am
roosevelt and the democrats winning back the white house. you don't need to spend money in pennsylvania, you are going to win it anyway, these kinds of judgments and in 1934, he once again, in the off-year election when a president holds the white house his party held the white house, and and that was quietly saying they will pick up here. and they were floored. i will never question another election prediction of them.
9:33 am
a columnist for the washington post, the president told jim farley, the forecast was the most remarkable thing he had ever seen in politics, made the cover of time magazine, profiled in others. he and his wife took to the social life of the capital, entertaining diplomats, supreme court justices and congressman at their yellow brick georgetown, they sailed to europe on the queen mary. and democratic headquarters, and master charge, newspaper clippings, almanacs, legislative reports, slide rules, adding machines, and index cards. analyzing political behavior in every state, county and city in america. he would screw maps on the floor and look at the mall they said one visitor, then he would play
9:34 am
with a calculating machine and pencil and pad and would come up with the information that was necessary to concentrate speakers and propaganda in certain counties of the state in order to win. the press painted him as no more partisan or irrational than a machine. is a method is simply to avoid opinion, stick to statistical facts. there are all kinds of carriers like montgomerie and judson and many of the more recent figures whose names are more familiar to you as well who populate this book too. the third story, interwoven with theirs is a of writers, intellectuals, critics who argue about spin. some of these were optimists, sometimes surprisingly so like a philosopher john dewey to when radio came on the scene, great potential that this medium could
9:35 am
restore town hall feeling that the national democracy that they had. and the hidden persuaders, people remember is that as a book about advertising industry, a chapter and more about politics in which he worries that the new strides being made in motivation research, trying to probe the unconscious to a understands why people make the choices they do, this was going to undermine the enlightenment basis of individual economy and rationality, our notions of public police. people were not voting for the candidates for the reasons they thought they were voting. this kind of destabilize our
9:36 am
understanding of how democracy really worked and put it in some peril. then there are the silent heroes of the book, these are the realists, people like walter lippmann in the 1920s, or all to a lot -- archibald mcleash. theodore white in the 60s pulled back the curtain on how the strategy is planned and how campaigns are conducted and given us the understanding of political campaigning today. even the german-american philosopher wrote an essay called lying in politics during the vietnam war. he is deeply critical of lyndon johnson and the credibility gap opened up, and the official line of the government was failing to reflect the on the ground
9:37 am
realities and also didn't want to throw her loss in with the moralists who condemned politicians for being liars. when she asked has politics and truth ever been in at the company in effect. she recognized from time immemorial politics is a realm in which people are always grazing the truth, putting the best face on their arguments and this is the way it should be and the way it has to be if we want pure truth, we look to the judge, scholars, philosophers, there are rooms in public life. politics has never been one of them. these other three stories that cover the early embryonic years of teddy roosevelt administration and the beginnings of the 20th century up through this crazy cacophonous media saturated spin soaked world we live in today.
9:38 am
and it came through the course of my research, all of them challenged revise, i started out thinking about spin. the first which i probably made clear of the spin is not new. we sometimes think that it is a recent phenomenon, clinton or reagan or jfk and somehow before that, politics is more honest, more pure, more straightforward. and in our own time, and the advent of the modern presidency, and celebrating themselves to
9:39 am
the public. and spin is not all powerful. contrary to critics like vance packard or those words i read at the beginning, the common complaint we have about political culture today. what was striking to me, the research i did was not just the presidents effectively sell their programs but how ineffective spin off in waters and the limits of spin whether it was woodrow wilson failing to sell his lead divinations project to the american public or franklin roosevelt, one of the most effective communicator is the oval office ever seem, being unable despite his fireside chat to put across his court packing plan of 1937. public opinion, counter spin from congress or the opposing
9:40 am
party. and series of elements in an open society like ours conspired to limit the power of presidential persuasion and to go even further, theorists of spin and throughout the book really come to see and states unanimously, most of what we are supposedly persuaded of, we are inclined to believe. it is hard to convince a public to completely reverse itself on a position. the most effective spin to, as one of these advertising men said doesn't persuade, it resonates. it brings out believes that are already within us. so spin is not new, spin is not all-powerful and finally spin is not all bad. the names spin, the term spin is one that comes out of the 1980s from the debate is, after the
9:41 am
candidates would debate on stage, reporters would interview their surrogates about which man had won. and the place these people gather, it was upgraded to the spin room because there are so many of them. in calling it spin there was an acknowledgment spin was a game that the reporters were in on it. they knew to be sincere, and the audience wasn't on it. and we could evaluate and --
9:42 am
spin is different and more benign form in the early part of the century called propaganda. and a more passive audience wohl and joy the spin culture, it is certainly not one in which why have no say or no capacity to evaluate, it is an ambivalent stance towards been. in ancient greece, plato writing about rhetoric deport all rhetoric because the purpose of rhetoric, he said was merely to induce conviction, not to teach truth. it could be conviction about something true or false but philosophy was what brought you to truth, rhetoric brought you to conviction.
9:43 am
was the date for. plato had his ideals and the debate versions in the real world and that is what rhetoric was to him. terrace of, this was all wrong, he said rhetoric can be used for good as well as hell and it was not the use of rhetoric per se but it was abuse he worried about by the wrong person at the wrong end. barack obama running for president, ran on a program of less spin, he was running as an honest man, he called for more straight talk. more straight talk and less spin. when obama took his own shellacking in the off-year congressional races, and lost quite a number.
9:44 am
took a very different line, he was asked why he and the democrats struggled so much in 2010, he came in and paid a lot of attention to policy, and calling for less spin to two years later calling for more spin, to be up the nest to being an aristotle in. all of us have this ambivalence. undersurface, we are platonic, we see this vacuous, often deceptive spin, we get angry and and go against it but deep down, and i we actually are capable of seeing through this and in support of a cause or a candidate that we like to
9:45 am
succeed. we like obama and wishy was better. we wish their arguments were finally proactive. spin has this double balance. i think one thing i hope to show, in long history of spin is started in this book, spin although it has many times been used for misleading is used for meeting, the presidential rhetoric has brought us not just the lows the highest highs of the last century. on that note i am going to conclude and i would love you to line up at the microphone, and take your questions. and [applause]
9:46 am
>> before this primary season, how -- if you hadn't written a book and you were covering this or taking a look at it, where would you like this in the book? we see highs and lows, the astronomical spin on this especially from the republican party. is some of it going to backfire? >> i wrote about this with obama but other presidents going back to jimmy carter, tried to run on the spin of no spin. because we are in such a spin
9:47 am
saturated culture we get set up with it, we create the authentic candidate. it may be donald trump who in his unfiltered way the words come out, there are got responses and it is appealing to for obvious reasons and on the democratic side it was similar to the appeal of bernie sanders, he says what he believes, looks like he rolled out of bed and gave a speech. it is interesting to note about 15 months ago i was at a white house briefing on advice for obama for the state of the union, the president was in there but his aides were. one of the people was a kid divine, sanders's campaign guru and he is laying down this line he wanted obama to take in the state of the union, the system
9:48 am
is rigged. the exact line he had bernie sanders using. he is sincere indeed leaving it. but there is an artifice behind the authenticity, with donald trump. you worked with roger stone, one of the most devious but effective consultants on the republicans side, and the seeming spontaneity. and he says he stole the election and the spotlight is back on trump for a few days. he is underneath his spontaneity and throughout our history even the most seemingly and coach, untutored, politically innocent politicians use practice and for
9:49 am
fraud. harry truman to get a quick example in 1948 delivers a speech in the democratic national convention where he is praised for his spontaneous ad lib style and gets rave reviews and this is seen as the beginning of his come back which comes back in his upsetting -- winning reelection. for months with the radio coach, brought it to the pacing, figured out how to get notes that would service the spine of the speech without adhering rigidly to the reading. that too, it didn't mean harry truman was a phony. he was a very authentic figure but behind the authenticity their is spin as well. even this year in our seemingly spontaneous, chaotic, authentic
9:50 am
debate of course there is still polling, speech writing, imagemaking, it is all still there under the surface. >> microphone. >> all right. >> i am curious your thoughts, contemporarily with karl rove and what he did with the bush administration going back to a numbers game, is that now how you see future politicians working it? is it cyclical and comes and goes? >> one of karl rove's contributions the change about politics in recent elections is this emphasis on what they call micro target, using data to figure out which constituencies need to turn out.
9:51 am
that is a little different from spin which is about communication. you might say the air and the and as opposed to the ground game that they are tied together. what it allows for is micro targeting of your messageing. that is something the great public relations specialist who was advising, something he was on to 60 years ago as well but we certainly see a more sophisticated form of messaging because each constituency through its own niche media whether it is fox news or african-american radio, on climate change the bush administration, whether men to get them to hear the white house position, there are all kinds of ways messages are tailored for specific media in order to reach
9:52 am
specific constituencies. i wish i had more time but i know you all have either events to get to and i am getting the no. >> the destructive nature of the internet that tom friedman wrote about last week. >> we have to talk about it outside. thank you all for coming. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
9:53 am
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> that was read his university
9:54 am
journalism professor david greenberg live from georgia. in a few minutes we will be back with more from the ninth annual sub and a book festival. follow us on twitter or facebook for scheduled information. first, in 2011 booktv visited savannah to check out its literary sites. we are going to begin by showing you a tour of robert mcallister's private book collection. >> this is the beginning of my library. i have i think one of the larger private libraries in the downtown area of savannah. i have roughly 10,000 volumes and mine is not a collector's library and not a rare book library but a reader's library. i have read most of the books in
9:55 am
the collection and those that i haven't read i intend to read because i don't accumulate books that i don't intend to read. i tend to pickup almost anything that relates to savannah or people who have been in savannah. here is a book on ted turner for example. then i have judge lawrence's book the storm over savannah. i have rabbi rubin's third to none, history of the israel synagogue. i have the hunting season or the hurricane season by rosemary danielle who wrote phil flowers and sleeping with soldiers and a number of other racy books about savannah. most of my books are nonfiction
9:56 am
but i occasionally get things like rosemary danielle war i also have mary k. andrews. i acquire what is available and what is interesting to me. at any given time i generally have two or three books going and will likely be on very different subject. i was reading the biography of aaron burr at the time i was starting bill brice's a short history. i am reading on different things at the same time and it is whatever interests me. i am a casual, catholic or universal reader. i just read what i enjoy. here i have a lot of little trinkets but i have some of my american collection and i have them roughly grouped by president. this is the kennedy shelf.
9:57 am
and this is the johnson shelf. this is the nixon shelf. this is the reagan shelf. i try to organize, i am beginning to have more books per president and i have space so i am going to have to investigate 8 different way of doing it. >> how long has it taken to get this election? >> i have been working at it for 40 years. >> where have you been getting your books from? >> i by virtually all my books secondhand. economy from scott irish heritage and what ever, i enjoy hunting for my books at garage sales and thrift stores and i ordered some over the internet and i buy something from local
9:58 am
stores but i never buy a new book. in this little section of shells i have my collection of the georgia historical quarterly. i have a little section on american and english silver. i have books about shakespeare of one sort or another. this is an area. in these two shells. and southerners are different
9:59 am
from other americans. the question keeps coming up, why don't you folks get over the civil war, i think we are over the civil war but what we are over is american heritage and we have so much more history available to us. about the civil war period. the revolutionary war period. here is one that shows the savannah connection. this fellow was an artist and mappedmaker with the union army and was captured as a pow and transferred to various parts of the south. frequently he was at liberty and was able to make drawings and all that mm-hmm. here is a drawing he made of the
10:00 am
confederate pow camp in savannah. he was here in september of 1864. if he had been here in december he would go to general sherman when he came to town. .. >> and what i do is i assign each book a number as it comes into the collection. it's entirely arbitrary. but i pencil the number in the
10:01 am
front, on the inside front cover. and this is book 1,676. my numbers go up to 10 to ,000, that's -- 10,000, that's how i know i've got that many volumes. and then when one comes out of the collection, i erase it from the invenn b story and reassign the number. >> do you have any particular favorites in your collection? >> oh, my favorite is whatever i'm reading currently. and i just finished up the biography of aaron burr that i mentioned earlier called "aaron burr: american rascal." but it's just whatever i'm reading at the time. i moved on, i started last night bill bryce's "short history of almost everything," and i'm well into that one now. so so that's my favorite of the
10:02 am
moment. but next week there'll be a new favorite. [inaudible conversations] >> and on your screen is a live picture from the trinity united methodist church in downtown savannah. it's one of venues used for the ninth annual savannah book festival. the theme this year is lose yourself in books, and it features about 40 authors. booktv live from savannah, georgia.
10:03 am
[inaudible conversations] >> and now on booktv we want to introduce you to author nancy sherman. her book is called "after war." first of all, ms. sherman, tell us about yourself. >> i'm a professor in philosophy at georgetown, and i guess this is my third book on issues of war. i teach military ethics, i teach about the psychological wounds of war and especially the moral dimensions. i've been at georgetown for a long time and was the first chair of ethics at the naval academy. >> so what are you writing about in your third book here? >> so this book is really about these homecomes, the current ones, 2.6 million service members coming home. and they're suffering from injuries that we're not looking at in part because we're a disenengaged society. it's not just because of post-traumatic stress, but some of them have moral quandaries
10:04 am
about the war; guilt, folks that say thank you for your service but it's reverent but disengaged. they also don't quite know how to sort out wars, some of them built on false premises. others that seem to re-emerge again with new crises in fallujah and in afghanistan and the like. and so these are folks that i talked to and got to know for years in the classroom. they're my students who came home as veterans and were trying to the really process their wars. so they're in -- i call them the moral injuries, but it's spectral. it can go from real quandaries about why i survived or why the guys who i, you know, asked to pull a gun in a collateral incident committed suicide and why i'm still here to students of mine who have blown whistles on torture and have had to deal
10:05 am
with being betrayed by their own command for making it uncomfortable for others, so to speak. >> i saw a recent statistic on soldiers coming home with ptsd, and it was -- seemed really high. >> it's about, how you measure is always up for grabs. but i'd say between 20-30%. interestingly, that diagnosis of ptsd is club call. and it has to do with a fear -- clinical. and it has to do with a fear-based response to life threat. be a lot -- but a lot of folks come home with moral doubts about what they did in war, who they're leaving behind, who they exposed maybe as a journalist, who they were partnered with in the be case of corrupt warlords. was it worth it? and was it worth it back home? do people at home feel the sacrifice that they made? and what does it mean, what's that social contract about that the citizens have with our soldiers?
10:06 am
and so the book's really in-depth narratives with soldiers' own voices trying to morally process their wars. and it's a plea for engagement, one-on-one. it's not enough just to put, talk about the v.a., it's not enough to talk about veterans' jobs. we actually have to say more than thank you for your service. it doesn't go very far. >> nancy sherman, tell us about one soldier in the book. >> well, one soldier is from l.a., from a tough neighborhood of l.a. he signs up for the marines. and his girlfriend at the time goes to georgetown, and she ends up in my class. he ends up in fallujah while she's going through georgetown. he's a kid from a gang, and you take care of your little birds, your baby birds, as he says. and in one case he's out mere --
10:07 am
near marja. he's always sure to tell his guys to watch his steps. one of his guys goes out, and he gets blown up. and the guilt that racks him is unbelievable. and it continues to. but his wife ends up in my class, and he marries her, he elopes. and he ends up in my class, and he comes to my class after returning, he's been at quantico stateside, he's exchanged his rifle for a mouse, as he puts it. people stateside don't quite get it, and he starts talking about this incident for the first time ever. and another one like it where he gave coordinates, but his commander didn't finish of a mine. his commander didn't clear them, and he lost a guy because of the commander which he thinks is a ribbon chaser. he got a voice in a classroom. wasn't even his own classroom, but one where his wife was.
10:08 am
and he's working through some of that moral injury. he's an amazing guy. he's going to make it, which is the best thing yet. >> georgetown professor nancy sherman with her most recent book, "after war: healing the moral wounds of our soldiers." and this is booktv on c-span2. >> booktv is on facebook. like us to get publishing news, scheduling updates, behind-the-scenes pictures and videos, author information and the talk directly with authors during our live programs. >> booktv is live in savannah, georgia, for today's ninth annual savannah book festival. and now a look at some of the city's local bookstores. founded in 1978, the book lady bookstore is located on east liberty street and offers a broad range of used, rare and
10:09 am
out-of-print books. they're active with the flannery o'connor childhood home, the poetry society of georgia and the georgia historical society. e. shaver bookseller, located on madison square in the heart of the city, has been locally owned and operated for 40 years. they specialize in local and regional history, architecture as well as decorating, arts, cooking and gardening. located on west bay street, books on bay offers a selection of vintage books ranging from biography and the civil war to religion and scouting. and v and j duncan which opened for business in 1983 with a focus on antique maps and has expanded into old books and other collectible items. the shop is located on monterey square in the city's historic district. that's a look at some of savannah, georgia, local bookstores.
10:10 am
[inaudible conversations] >> and we're back in savannah live. author gail lumet buckley is next. her book is called "the black calhouns: from civil war to civil rights with one african-american family." this is booktv, live coverage from savannah on c-span2. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
10:11 am
>> good morning, ladies and gentlemen. hello. welcome to trinity united methodist church and to the savannah book festival, nine years old. my name is ann gardner, and the it's value is being presented by georgia power, bill and tina cutty and the estate of ralph e. hansman. let's give thanks to trinity united methodist church, which was made possible by the generosity of bob and jane faircloth and south state bank. we'd like to extend -- [applause] thank you. we'd like to extend special thanks also to our literati
10:12 am
members and individual donors who make saturday's free festival events possible. if you would like to lend your support, we welcome your donations and have provided yellow bucks for books buckets at the exit doors as you will be leaving, and donations will be gratefully received. please make sure you've turned off your cell phones and also no flash photography, please. after the speech ms. buckley will be going straight to the signing tent, and so you can go and purchase her books, and she will sign them there. the books are to be festival purchased only. gail lumet buckley is the daughter of the falled black actress and activist lena horne. she was directed to sidney lumet. ms. buckley chronicles her mother's lineage from slavery to the black middle class and
10:13 am
hollywood in her first book, "the honors." after -- the honors." after she discovered a treasure-trove of material in her grandfather's trunk. the research from that book led to her second book, "american patriots," which chronicled the service of blacks in this country's military campaigns since the founding. now she turns her journalistic gusto to the story of her family from the civil war to civil rights in "the black calhouns," which begins with her great great grandfather, moses calhoun, an educated house slave who became a successful businessman in postwar atlanta. ms. buckley joins us today courtesy of david and nancy sintroen. ladies and gentlemen, please help me in welcoming gail lumet buckley. [applause]
10:14 am
>> thank you very much. thank you very much for being here. i'm delighted to be in beautiful savannah. i have been asked to speak a little bit about myself, to say what role books have played in my life and how i first became interested in writing. i think the important thing to begin with is that i was born in 1937 and have, therefore, seen some pretty important changes in american life. i graduated from radcliffe college in 1959 which means i had a harvard education. i wish i'd studied more and enjoyed myself less. [laughter] after college i had a terrific job as a reporter at "life" magazine, the job i loved even though i was paid less than a man doing the same work. "life" is probably where i first
10:15 am
thought about writing as a career. but part of being born in 1937 meant that most young women with college degrees got interesting, if ill-paying jobs, and then quit to get married. i gave up "life" because my first husband wished me to. i did not work again for 15 years. i've been married twice. my first husband was a film director, and my second husband was a journalist, foreign correspondent and editor. i have two wonderful children and two delightful grandchildren. because i was basically an only child with a mother who was a voracious reader, books have always played an enormous part in my life as i traveled in the summers with my mother. i don't see how i could have gotten through childhood and adolescence without books. from dr. doolittle and nancy drew to 17th summer and the catcher in the rye which the housemaker in my quaker boarding school confiscated from my room
10:16 am
as unsuitable. [laughter] i remember certain great traveling book moments. for example, reading moby dick straight through nonstop on a train from new york to california, which may be the best way to read moby dick. [laughter] discovering a new favorite, h.g. wells, because he was the only english-language author in the library of a french transatlantic liner. and arriving in london from school in new york to have my mother greet me by immediately thrusting a book into my hands and saying you have to read this. it was the first james bond. [laughter] i have been asked about my life and letters and what inspired my latest book. the idea of a life in letters amuses me because it makes me think of brilliant and probe lick people who write -- prolific people who write all day and talk about books all night. my life in letters has been sporadic, intermittent and late. my first book was published in
10:17 am
1986. my second book was published in 2001, and my third book was published in 2016. i clearly have not had a life in letters. but all three of my books have been inspired by the same impulse; family stories. my first book, "the hornes," was inspired by objects found in my grandfather's trunk of family momentos. my second book, "american patriots," was inspired by my great uncle who died as an officer in the first world war. and my third and current book tells the story of the black calhouns of atlanta, the horne founding family. who are the black calhouns? they were an extended, atypical african-american family who from 1865 to 1965, north and south, were also typically more than in their dreams is and aspirations.
10:18 am
they were typically american because their founding father, my great great grandfather, moses calhoun, implicitly believed in the american dream. although he was a slave until he was 35, he was culturally, geographically and historically lucky. he was lucky because despite laws mandating illiteracy for blacks, he had been educated in slavery. his owner, andrew pone that part -- bonaparte calhoun, a cowz sin of -- cousin of john c. calhoun, wanted a literate butler and was powerful enough to ignore the laws. moses wuss gee graphicically lucky because he lived on a town -- in a town and not on a plantation. and he was historically lucky because amendments to the constitution gave him everything he needed for luck in freedom. besides the 13th amendment which made him truly free, the 14th
10:19 am
ghei him equality under -- gave him equality under the law, and the 15th gave him the vote. he was, therefore, an american citizen with all the rights of every other american citizen. as an enterprising and intelligent man, moses took advantage of everything that reconstruction had to offer. i don't know what would have happened to my great, great grandfather without reconstruction, but with it he was able to create a successful life for himself and his family and to utilize his skills and abilities to amass enough money and property so that in 1886, 20 years after the end of the war, the atlanta constitution would call him the wealthiest colored man in atlanta. the black calhouns, moses and his mother and sister, had a sort of family business andrew calhoun. moses was a butler, his mother was the cook, and his sister was the nursemaid. they were considered favorite
10:20 am
slaves. a.b. calhoun appeared to be a benevolent and generous owner. after the war he deeded process to moses' mother and sister. the story of the black calhouns is the story of the family of moses whose descendants would prosper in the north, and the family of moses' sister whose descendants stayed and prospered in atlanta. from 1865 to 1965, the black calhouns lived through the civil rights century. surely the most volatile american century of all. it was both a wonderful and a terrible century for black americans. on the one hand, it was a century of freedom, aspiration and achievement. on the other hand, for most the freedom was ephemeral except for a lucky few. the doors of as ration and achievement were closed -- aspiration and achievement were closed. american slaves were field without compensation,
10:21 am
preparation. america's emancipation compared to britain's, for example, was badly done. britain compensated the slave owners and mandated education for the ex-slaves. reconstruction officially only lasted ten years, but its spirit was indelibly engraved on all the psyches of the black calhouns through the generations. they not only believed in america, but believed they had a role to play in the progress of their country and community. as might be expected, the black calhouns moved north to full fill their aspirations -- to fulfill their aspirations and achieve success. less expected, perhaps, those who stayed in atlanta had equally successful and aspirational lives. in some ways, even more successful. obviously, in many aspects life in the north was easier than life in the south. northern parents could raise their children where there were no whites-only signs on libraries, museums and parks. but high achievement was the norm on both sides of the family with interesting differences.
10:22 am
northern achievement tended to be political and public while sour achievement tended to be professional and private. the other differences were personal. among the black calhouns, northern marriages tended to be up happy and families -- can unhappy and families more dysfunctional with more divorce, adultery, etc., while southern marriages were longer lasting and seemed to be happier. my personal theory is with fewer social and political choices and opportunities, southerners turned inwards towards family, church and community while northerners had more choices, they also had more temptations. moses calhoun waited until he was free to marry. at 36 he found a bride who was 15 years younger, looked white and had been born in free -- had been born free in new orleans. the two with beautiful daughters, cora and lena calhoun, were both highly educated in the so-called missionary schools that sprang up all over the old confederacy
10:23 am
after the war. sponsored by white northern philanthropists and mostly staffed by white northern teachers, these schools and colleges instilled confidence as well as rigorous academics into their students who were being trained to become the first black teachers in the south. cora graduated from atlanta university, and lena graduated from fisk in nashville, tennessee, where a massachusetts youth named w.e.b. dubois, known as willie, who was prepping for harvard fell hopelessly in love with her. back in the mountains of massachusetts where duboise's family had lived in freedom since colonial days, young willie was both the star student and the star athlete, but he had never before seen such confident young men or beautiful girls as he saw in the south. and he was bowled over by what he described in his autobiography as the rosy,
10:24 am
apricot beauty of 16-year-old lena calhoun of atlanta. duboise famously named his famous black teachers to be the talented tenth, the 10% of the negro race whose job was to uplift the other 90%. both calhoun girls married successful young men, breaking willie duboise's heart, lena married a slightly older fisk graduate, and later in the classic black middle class way being something of a renaissance man, a successful ophthalmologist in chicago. her older sister, cora, married edward horne, the adonis of the negro press. and their cousin, the daughter of moses' sister, married a graduate of atlanta university who became the very prosperous and highly respected first black licensed real estate broker in atlanta. well, cora and lena calhoun and
10:25 am
their husbands moved north in the wake of plessy v. ferguson, the supreme court decision that entrenched white supremacy. their cousin's family stayed in atlanta to remain pillars of the black community. cora and edwin horne moved to new york city to raise their four sons, two of whom were born in the north in still-zillion-bucolic brooklyn. edwin became a democrat and a tamny man, writing pamphlets for the 1910 election that leapt black men for the first time to lead the republican party and elect a democrat as governor of new york. edwin's successful work on behalf of black tamny also won new york its first black national guard unit. it became the famous 369th regiment known as harlem's own, the most highly decorated american unit in the first world war. although it fought in french uniforms under the french flag
10:26 am
because racist president woodrow wilson did not want blacks to bear arms for america. cora's oldest son, second lieutenant err roll horne, a veteran of the poncho via campaign, died in the war. not in battle, but in the 1918 influenza pandemic. black life in the south was also touched by the world war. the granddaughter of moses' sister married a young medical officer, a wartime captain who became one of the most beloved members of atlanta's black community and the father and grandfather of three more. more -- three more doctors. while life in the south remained difficult for blacks in general, for some atlanta blacks in particular, life was very good, indeed. a business culture rather than a planter culture, atlanta always had one eye on northern investment. while it punished certain black political aspirations, it rarely punished black business
10:27 am
aspirations. atlanta remained a good place for enterprising and family-oriented blacks. cora horne, a true member of the talented tenth, came into her own during the war as a red cross organizer, as secretary of the brooklyn urban league, as a direct or of the big brothers and being sisters federation where she was a mentor to the very young paul robison and an appointee to the brooklyn victory committee. the war years were cora's slow years. the former suffragist really became an activist in the 1920s after she got the vote. meanwhile, in 1919 she made her granddaughter, lena horne, the child of her second son known as ted, a lifetime member of the naacp at the age of 2. [laughter] cora was a busy woman, and edwin horne was a successful man, but they had an unhappy marriage. handsome and debonair, edwin was
10:28 am
known to have a lady friend in manhattan. his son, my grandfather ted, also had an unhelp marriage despite baby lena. both of my mother's young parents decentered her before she was 2. -- deserted her before 2. after making a small killing on the black sox scandal of 1919, ted horne left his job to pursue easy money on the fringes of the rackets while lena's mother, a member of an old black brooklyn family originally from massachusetts, left to pursue an unsuccessful theatrical career. until she was 6 years old, little lena horne lived in brooklyn with her grandparents where her grandmother never spoke to her husband except to say, good morning, mr. horne. postwar black life in the north changed radically in the 1920s. now a voter, cora horne became a republican activist certainly for historical reasons, but possibly to annoy her tamny
10:29 am
activist husband. [laughter] she campaigned for calvin coolidge in the 1924 election as a member of the speaker's bureau for the republican party, and as a national organizer and secretary of the eastern division of the republican national women's auxiliary. something else happened in the 1920s. suddenly, harlem was envogue. not just in new york, but around the world. harlem's sudden vogue stemmed from a combination of reasons. from the fact that harlem nightclubs, protected by a compliant mayor, happily ignored prohibition to the discovery of african tribal art in former german colonies which caused picasso to change the faces of his painting -- [inaudible] into cubist masks to a smash broadway show could "shuffle along," a fast-paced show with a hit dance called the charleston. to a whole new group of black
10:30 am
points and novelists including cora's third son, frank horne. known as the family intellectual, frank horne became a prize-winning poet and young second tier member of harlem renaissance. in typical black middle class family, he also had a day job. like his uncle, he was a practicing harlem ophthalmologist. in the mid 1920s, frank went south for the first time to become dean and first black acting president of an industrial college in georgia that could have been the model for the college in ralph ellison's "invisible man." frank wrote home about his new southern experience. i'm initiated into the negro race. from now on i'm the interrer of side doors and back doors and sometimes no door at all. meanwhile, cora horne's southern cousin and her daughters married to prosperous husbands were also
10:31 am
club women but of a very different nature. middle class black southern women concentrated on self-improvement rather than do-gooding or uplifting the race which could be dangerous occupations in the 1920s south. they formed circles to discuss horticulture, literature and foreign travel, but politics were forbidden, and do-gooding was done strictly through atlanta's first congregational church. cora's granddaughter, little lena, now had her own first southern experience. in 1923 lena's errant mother, touring the south as an actress, wanted her daughter with her but mostly left her with strangers. lena now became an object of contention between her mother and grandmother, pulled between her secure brooklyn life and wherever her mother was in the south. so young lena, who went to an -- [inaudible] nursery school and a roman catholic primary school in brooklyn, now attended one-room
10:32 am
southern schoolhouses where the other children always hated her. in 1927, however, lena's life changed completely when her mother eloped to havana with a white cuban military officer. for the next two years, lena remained in the south, happy at last, living next to her uncle frank's english teacher fiancee in the glirls' dorm. frank himself would be rescued from back doors of the south in the next decade by an invitation to join fdr's so-called black cabinet as assistant director of the division of negro affairs in the new deal's national youth administration. in 1929 lena left the south and went back to brooklyn permanently where her beloved grandfather took her to museums and to the theater. she was so smitten by fred astaire on broadway that she asked for and received singing and dancing lessons, both leading to starring roles in middle class black brooklyn's
10:33 am
young amateur theatrics as well as notice in the black press. everything or changed for lena in 1932, however, when cora horne died and her mother returned from cuba with her husband, now a refugee from the latest revolution who spoke no english. needing money, lena's mother took her out of girls' high school to audition for the chorus of the world famous cotton club, a big, glamorous, mob-run showcase of black talent for all-white audiences in the middle of a black community. lena's father ted was one of the rare blacks allowed in to see the show because his best friend, a former world war i black officer, was now the numbers king of harlem. lena, 16 years old and beautiful whose mother protected her virtue by sitting in the dressing room every night, was also famously protected by the black mob. by 1935, however, lena was ready
10:34 am
to move on. against the wishes of the cotton club, lena's mother spirited her away to boston to sing with noble sis el society orchestra, meaning black musicians playing white music at the ritz carlton hotel. it was the first black orchestra, and she was the first black singer to appear at boston's ritz. lena sang "blue moon" in a white dress and won a harvard fan club who came every night. lena, 19 years old and tired of show business as well as her mother hovering in the dressing room, took a vacation on her own to visit her father who now lived in pittsburgh where he owned a small hotel with a discreet, private gambling den. in pittsburgh she met and married my father whose older lawyer brothers were important in democratic ward politics. lena was now a young housewife who made occasional forays into show business, mostly because
10:35 am
her husband -- who played high stakes bridge and unknown to lena never gave up his former girlfriend -- needed the money. despite the birth of my baby brother, little teddy, lena, finally aware of louis' philandering, called an end to the marriage leaving the children with her father and ten mother in 1940, she went back to new york to look for work. level at the harlem ywca, lena had the calhoun luck. charlie barnett, one of the most popular of the big bands whose hit 1940 records cherokee was looking for a black singer. lena made well-received recordings with both barnett and artie shaw. barr nyet, shaw and benny goodman were the only big band leaders who hired black singers or musicians. but lena was tired of bands and hated touring. she wanted to be in new york with her children. she now got another career
10:36 am
break, singing at café society in greenwich village. café society was unique in its day. besides presenting extraordinary young talents like billy holday, it was the only integrated night club outside of harlem with black patrons as well as black performers. lena was an enormous hit. unbeknown to most of the performers and patrons, however, café society was a fundraising outlet for the then-legal communist party usa as the american communist party was known. if she had known, lena doubtless would not have carried. she did not know a communist from a republican. [laughter] but in the 1950s, every performer who appeared at café society would be blacklisted. now, however, she was able to bring me and little teddy to new york where we all entered her childhood brooklyn home. little teddy's visit was short-lived, however. louis' cruel divorce agreement
10:37 am
stipulated that i would live with my mother while teddy lived with our father. but my mother and i were soon to move even farther away. because of her café society success, lena had received an offer from hollywood not for the movies, but from a new nightclub called the little trock. once again, she was an overnight sensation. one man who came night after night was mgm's roger eden, the man who discovered judy garland. talent and beauty won lena a long-term hollywood contract, the first in hollywood for a black performer. but it might not have happened without world war ii. lena arrived in hollywood the same time that walter white and the naacp and 1940 republican presidential candidate wendell willkie began their campaign with hollywood producers to eliminate degrading, racist stereotypes of people of color including negroes, asians and latins for the sake of wartime
10:38 am
allies. thus, lena -- whose contract partly brokered by her father stipulated no servant or jungle roles -- was almost single-handedly expected to prove to the allies that america, unlike germany and japan, was not a racist country. so lena became known as the first black movie star. she became the first black member of the board of the screen actors' guild and the first black person to appear on the cover of a movie magazine. despite allies of color, however, her scenes were always isolated from the main portion of the movie so that they could easily be cut out of the picture when-shown in the south. in fact -- when it was shown in the south. in fact, she was cut out of every picture she ever made in hollywood except for two when they were shown in the south. unless the cast was all black, the southern rules stipulated that blacks in movies could only be shown as servant types. nightclubs continued to be
10:39 am
hugely theatrical venues for lena, from harlem's cotton club to boston's ritz carlton to greenwich village's café society to hollywood's little trock. and now in 1942, while she was waiting for her first movie to be released, she became the first black entertainer to appear at manhattan's very elegant savoy plaza hotel. once again, she was an overnight sensation, so well noticed that she was features in time, life and "newsweek" all in the same february 1943 week. nightclubs gave lena recognition, but world war ii made her a star. black g.i.s needed a pin-up, and lena was always embarrassed that she was the only one. while two atlanta cowz to sips married tuskegee airmen, lena was chosen as queen of the 99th pursuit squadron, their combat arm. she toured black army camps but was kicked out of the uso for refusing to sing at a camp in
10:40 am
arkansas where black g.i.s were forced to sit behind german prisoners of war for her show. her grandmother would have been proud. the postwar years saw many changes in lena's life. one door was shut and others were opened. by 1947 her movie career was essentially over, but her nightclub and live performing career went from strength to strength. in 1947 she went to europe for the first time. she had great success touring the still war-torn british isles. she'd built in fans though cabin in the sky and stormy weather were unfit for g.i.s, they'd been deemed approved for the british fleet. she married her second husband, lenny hayden, a white mgm conductor/composer/arranger who became a wonderful stepfather to me. they came home to find the blacklist which began in 1947 with the hollywood ten.
10:41 am
all screen writers and former communist party members who went to prison for refusing to testify before a congressional committee. the blacklist ultimately touched all professions and walks of life. lena was finally named in 1950 when she was listed and red channeled. lena's crimes included her appearance at café society and especially her friendship with two men, w.e.b. dubois and paul robison. because they were actually her grandparents' friends, the relationships were more dutiful than political. hollywood communists had, indeed, wooed lena, but paul robison, in fact, warned her against them m. in reality, lena was one of the luckier blacklisted artists. although banned from network tv for ten years, her nightclub career and international touring career never suffered. in the days before tv kept people home at night, she remained one of the highest paid
10:42 am
performers, nightclub performers in the world. by 1957 she was cleared by the blacklisters and starring in jamaica, a hit broadway musical. broadway, by the way, basically ignored the blacklist. lena wasn't the only black calhoun to be suspect. frank horne came under his own blacklisting cloud in washington where he was investigated by the civil service loyalty board as a founder of the national committee against discrimination in housing. supposedly ferreting out un-americanism, blacklisting was also an excuse for racism and anti-semitism. appropriately enough, the modern civil rights era began in 1960 at cora horne's alma mater. in april 1960 a full-page ad appeared in the atlanta constitution. we, the students of the six affiliated institutions forming the atlanta university center, have joined our hearts, minds and bodies in the cause of gaining those rights which are
10:43 am
inherently ours as members of the human race and as citizens of these united states. we must say in all candor that we plan to use every legal and nonviolent means at our disposal to secure full citizenship rights as members of this great democracy of ours. that same year a young atlanta cousin, moses calhoun's great, great grand niece, was chosen to be one of the desegregaters of an atlanta high school until her mother, fearing the traumatic upheaval surrounding the integration of little roxanne -- [inaudible] high school had second thoughts and sent her daughter to a massachusetts boarding school. meanwhile, in the north lena threw herself into the civil rights movement. she and frank sinatra produced a famous two-night carnegie hall benefit, one night of which benefited the student nonviolent coordinating committee, the youth branch of the southern christian leadership conference. lena went to jackson, mississippi, on behalf of the
10:44 am
naacp, the organization which she had been enrolled at the age of 2, to join medgar evers at a voting rights rally two days before he was assassinated. she went to the march on washington wearing her naacp cap, and she recorded a civil rights song called "now" that was banned from the radio in several states. the enemies of civil rights had very powerful weapons at their disposal, but the civil rights movement won the high moral ground early, and the long arc of justice ultimately turned towards the american blacks. the larger and more systemic aspects of official racism were defeated in what could be called a second civil war. it was a strange war waged on one side by churches, children and young people and waged on the other by murderers, there arists, snarling dogs and fire hoses. despite assassinations and too many martyrs, voting rights were
10:45 am
achieved, and jim crow was officially dismantled. by 1973 the thety of atlanta -- the city of atlanta, the city that famously became too busy to hate, had a black mayor, and former students of the atlanta university manifesto were now in charge of the municipality. although the 1970s were personally mournful years for lena who lost her father and husband and son between 1971 and 1972, the 1980s saw another extraordinary change in the career of moses calhoun's great granddaughter. she opened in a one-woman broadway show that brought her every honor and accolade known in the theater. the 1980s were a decade of horns for black calhouns north and south. in march 1981, the same month that saw lena's triumphant broadway return, dr. homer nash, the great grandson of moses' sister, died at the age of 94. in the words of the atlanta
10:46 am
constitution, dr. ohio her nash's -- ho her gnash's death ends in error. he was the longest practicing black doctor in georgia and the longest practicing doctor of any race in atlanta. you could call the black calhouns lucky, but they were never selfish achievers. they shared their bountiful gifts and achievements with their community and their country. it is fair to say the black call kinds is as much the story of america as it is of a family. thank you. [applause] >> oh, i move down for questions? >> [inaudible] >> anybody have questions?
10:47 am
>> you come to the center? the microphone is here. [inaudible] >> i can hear you, yes. [laughter] >> i grew up in flatbush. where did you live? >> well, i was born in pittsburgh, and i grew up in california, but my mother grew up on chauncey street in bedford stuyvesant. it was then called stuyvesant heights. >> right. >> and it, she grew up on chauncey street. she went to brooklyn girls' high school, and she went to catholic church in brooklyn. she was a total -- she adored brooklyn. she was a total brooklyn girl. >> i grew up in the '30s and '40s in brooklyn which were great years -- >> yes. >> -- to grow up in brooklyn. thank you very much. >> thank you. any other non-brooklyn questions or -- [laughter]
10:48 am
>> i'd like to know what favorite story you have with your mother. >> oh, of my mother? oh, my goodness. that's a difficult question. well, the james bond story is one of them, because she didn't even, like, say hi. she just said you've got to read this book when i walked in the door. so that's one of my favorites. she was a good, a fun mother. we had fun. i mean, i didn't see her all the time, but when i saw her -- which was always on summer vacation, christmas, big holidays -- it was total fun. so that was a good part. yes. >> you come to the microphone? >> the microphone is off, we couldn't hear you. >> it's on now. [inaudible conversations]
10:49 am
>> [inaudible] [laughter] >> aside from james bond, what was your mother's favorite reading -- >> she loved reading histories, especially french history. she knew about all the queens of france. yes, loved that. and she was a voracious reader because she always felt she was uneducated because her mother took her out of school at the age of 16, put her in the cotton club. and she always -- everybody around her was so bright, she felt, and she was really uneducated, and so she read and read. she was self-taught, basically. i mean, though she'd had -- in a funny way, in the south she was the teacher's pet even though the children hated her. they hated her accent, everything about her. but she was always the teacher's pet, so she didn't really receive a bad education. thank you for your question. >> would you please repeat the questions? we can't hear them. >> would you share the way your mother did stormy weather during
10:50 am
her one-woman show? i saw the lady in the music? stormy weather two times -- [inaudible] >> yes, yes. the question is why or how did my mother sing stormy weather twice in her one-woman broadway show? she did it twice because she sang it the first time the way she was told to sing it in the hollywood which always said, lena, pretty lips, lena. she was -- you always sang, you spoke to the sound recording, and you had to make your face very perfect. and she was always told to think of irene dunn. [laughter] so the second time she sang it in the show was how she would sing it herself at her age then. so it was a much richer, fuller version. and the critics all noticed that. >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> brought down the house.
10:51 am
and about 5 minutes later she -- 45 minutes later she said now here's the real -- [laughter] >> thank you. [applause] any other questions? well, i hope you're going to buy books -- >> [inaudible] >> very little. [laughter] i sing christmas carols, that's about it. finish. [laughter] so i think we're going to go across the street. [applause] thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
10:52 am
nobs knox. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
10:53 am
[inaudible conversations] >> and booktv's live coverage from the savannah book festival will continue shortly. some of the authors you'll hear from include former george w. bush white house press secretary dana perino, best selling author rinker buck. we're bringing you author events all day from the trinity united methodist church. now, while we wait for our next live author talk, here's some more from our visit to savannah in 2011.
10:54 am
>> we're standing in savannah's city market. this would have been the place where the urban slaves in the city of savannah would have come to sell their wares. on the weekends they were able to pick from their gardens and come out on sundays and sell their wares. one thing i want to talk about is the fact that urban slaves in savannah were a work force. the institution of slavery was a little bit different in savannah because there was literally one degree of separation. the slaves, the enslaved people lived where their owners would have lived, but a lot of them lived away from their owners. in 1801 it became law that it
10:55 am
took an act of the legislature to free a slave instead of the last will is and testamentment so with the act of the legislature, it rarely happened. so to what happened essentially in savannah is these urban slaves were slaves in name only. they would hire themselves for work or their masters would hire them out x they would have been paid. one example was in the 1850s here on ellis square where ulysses houston who was the pastor of the third african baptist church had a butcher shop. he was, he was an enslaved man, he paid his owner $50 a month so is that he could work at his butcher shop. this building has a very powerful history. on the top floor, you had a slave mart. this building was built by a man named john mcmillan in
10:56 am
1854-1857. the land was valued in 1854 at $4500, and by 1857 it was $31,500 -- $11,500 in value. it's three floors high. it has a below-grade holding, a low-ground holding area, apparently, where the enslaved people were kept. they were brought up in chains and taken to the third floor of this building. the middle window would have been where the auction block was. the window on the side was the antiroom where the women would have changed their clothes. he talks about hearing the screams and cries of the thousands of africans who were taken up to be sold into slavery here at this slave mart. john mcmillan did not live as long as the slave mart survived. it was eight years that this was a layoff mart. john mcmillan met a very unfortunate death.
10:57 am
he was blown up in a steamer, be his body -- and his body brought back here to the thety to be buried -- to the city to be buried. and what else happened here, alexander bryan, he had a sign out front, and it said bryan's slave mart. the next year this building became the school for freed blacks. james lynch came down, he was a missionary, and they went into building. they found the actual bill of sale that they were selling the slaves on, turned them over and used them for paper for these students to write on. they marched from the first african baptist church 40 young black people to this building for it to become the first friedman's school here in the city of savannah in 1865.
10:58 am
[inaudible conversations] >> the savannah book festival is held annually in savannah's downtown area, and it's attended by about 10,000 people each year. this is ninth year for the festival, and in a few minutes we'll be back with more author talks from trinity united methodist church. [inaudible conversations]
10:59 am
>> here's a look at some upcoming book fairs and festivals happening around the country. on march 12th and 13th, booktv will be live at the university of arizona for the eighth annual tucson festival of books. the following week is the virginia festival of the book held in charlottesville. then on saturday, april 2nd, the fourth annual san antonio book festival. and later that month look for our live coverage of the 21st los angeles times festival of booking from the campus -- books from the campus of the university of southern california on april 9th and 10th. for more information about the book fairs and festivals booktv will be covering and to watch previous festival coverage, crook the book fairs tab on our -- click the book fairs tab on our web site,
11:00 am
america. you want to know everything presidential. what makes up the thought process of not sending. underground to syria to fight isis, what is in his mind. and people -- one of the few people in this country toet


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on